The weekend’s social timetable changed unexpectedly giving me the opportunity to have a few hours at the Marsh. The only problem was it involved getting up early in the morning. Not so long ago this would not have presented a problem, getting up at a ridiculous hour was the norm for the weekend. Nowadays it’s not such a regular occurrence, even my Pike fishing sees relatively few early alarm calls these days. Over time I had become afraid of the early mornings so could I be arsed to drag myself out of bed at 0445?
I spent Saturday evening buggering about with bits of tackle, tying a couple of short fluoro hooklengths, mixing groundbait and rigging up the nearly new rod. This took a couple of hours, longer than I expected and the early night went out of the window. By this time I’d more or less convinced myself to go fishing but how would I handle the early alarm call?
Some bland, forgettable radio tune roused me from slumber and I rolled groggily out of bed. That wasn’t so bad! Half an hour later I was by the water’s edge. There were a couple of Carp anglers already bivvied up which narrowed down the options so I went for a swim on the south bank. The previous day had been damp and windy but this morning was clear and dry but with a nice breeze from the South west. The swim I’d chosen had nice margin features, overhangs on both sides with a bed of lilies between them but I’d already opted against using the float rod. Firstly I’d figured I’d be tired and would not concentrate on the float properly. Secondly I’m absolutely hopeless at stillwater float fishing, I just can’t keep my eye on a stationary float consistently enough. Trotting a stick float down a river was a different matter but sadly there’s rarely enough flow on my local rivers these days… Then thirdly it was a good excuse to use my nearly new, lighter rod.
On the new rod I fished a helicopter rig with an open end feeder and fake pop up corn fished on a 4” hooklength. Groundbait was Lake Wizard’s Gold, mixed with a bit of Expo along with some maggots and hemp. I chucked a few small balls around the feeder and topped it up regularly. The other rod was the normal chod rig with a tutti pop up and a dozen freebies on top. I hadn’t even undone the flask before I had a twitchy take on the feeder rod and hooked into…the inevitable small Rudd. Some things don’t change.
I settled back with the long awaited cup of tea and enjoyed the view of the pool in its full summer greenery, with the dawn chorus as my soundtrack. I was glad I’d got my backside out of bed. There was plenty of fishy activity in my swim; Rudd dimpled the surface and the shoals were occasionally scattered by a striking Pike. Bottom feeding fish created bubbles along the marginal shelf but I know from experience not to try and guess the culprits. A brood of ducks tried to steal my groundbait and a grebe gave the Rudd shoals an enemy from above. I heard my first cuckoo of the year, nearly two months late? Despite all of this I couldn’t stop my eyelids drooping and from time to time I dozed on my chair.
In my more alert spells I’d recast the feeder a few times and topped the groundbait up as I was sure fish of some description were feeding on it. This was confirmed around 0745 by another twitchy take resulting in a Roach of about 10ozs. An hour later I had another, more confident take and set the hook into something fairly heavy that did very little. That ruled out Carp but I also doubted it was a Tench. The fish buried into the lilies but steady pressure brought it up, a sizeable bream rolled in front of me. Once out of the pads it was soon in the net. It was covered in the infamous tubercles that signify something to do with spawning but I can't remember what. Not a monster but I’m only marginally more successful at catching Bream than I am Tench and only a few years ago this would have been a PB.
That was my last action of the day and an hour or so later time was up and I was on my way. I’m still failing to catch Tench but given the time available I was happy with my mornings fishing. Getting up early ain’t so bad.